Titane Review: Confused in a Good Way


Gavin Clingham, Staff Writer

So you remember how you’re supposed to understand movies? Because I don’t. After watching Titane, I have no clue as to what to think.

Although I’ve watched weird movies before, this doesn’t compare by a long shot. I think that this is the weirdest movie I’ve ever seen, maybe even the weirdest movie ever made. I watched this mainly because the woman who made the film made another horror movie four years ago that caused me to lock my bedroom door through all of middle school. I heard about the French horror film called Raw, and I was already freaked out once I looked at preview images alone. Its concept sent a harsh shiver down my spine every night and I didn’t feel safe for a while. So this was kind of like a face-your-fears experience for me. Because I had heard small pieces of information that were absolutely mind-blowing, I realized that even with my past fear of the director’s previous film, I had to witness this one for myself. I will warn you before you decide to go see this film that it is absolutely weird, insane, and also pretty explicit. I didn’t leave many warnings for Sex Education, but after ten minutes into this film, I realized that I had to leave a blatant warning. This is a pretty messed up film, and I guarantee that you will never be prepared for what’s in it.

I am not going to tell you the plot of this film at all. I spoiled some major plot points for myself, which kind of ruined the film for me because this is the type of movie that benefits from going into it blind. It’s like Parasite (not as amazing though) in that going in with knowing nothing helps the film flow better. I will, however, leave you with the plot descriptions released online: “Following a series of unexplained crimes, a father is reunited with the son who has been missing for ten years” and “Titane: A metal highly resistant to heat and corrosion, with high tensile strength alloys.” All I will tell you about the plot is that it is completely bonkers. To think that not only did Julia Ducournau come up with this film but that a human being was able to envision something like this, is mind blowing. It takes such an early hard right turn into an absolute firestorm of weirdness. It’s like nothing that’s ever been made before.

One aspect that I actually thought was pretty great was the film’s ability to disturb you and heart-warm you at the same time. How can a disturbing body horror film even have wholesome moments? Scenes in the film are either disturbingly brutal, sweet and inviting, or both of these very different scene tones. It’s a tonal mix that is somehow executed quite well. The body horror was unnerving and made my skin crawl for pretty much the entire runtime. Then the “wholesome” parts of the film were well written and really nice to watch after a horrifying scene with a car (that I will not explain). Feeling both touched and horrified, I didn’t know what to think. I kind of just sat there wondering what kind of film this was.

The film’s performances were also great. Vincent London gave a really touching performance that really managed to make the complicated and somewhat hard to understand arcs believable. With all the insanity and shock that this film brings, Vincent London manages to keep the audience grounded in the real world. Agathe Rousselle also shocked me with pretty much everything about her performance. It’s dark and gritty while allowing you to follow her character throughout the movie. Plus, the stuff that the actress must have gone through shocked me. I’m about ninety percent sure that most of it was faked (because it’s a movie), but with the hair changes, brutal moments, and other moments that likely had to be emotionally challenging, she goes through a lot for this role and hits the nail on the head. Also, the actress starring in my middle school nightmares (she was the killer in Raw), Garance Marillier, really adds a lot of convincing innocence to her character, which is the perfect contrast to Agathe Rousselle. Also, like Rousselle, it seems like the actress had to go through a lot for this role. Yes, she may have haunted me in middle school with a single creepy look, but I have to credit her for her underrated performance. I can barely express the reasons why I think they deserve so much more credit for their performances, but it’s just so astounding. 

The one thing I will say is that there were times when the film lost me. In this mad and psychotic world, there are so many questions that never end up getting answered. A lot of the weird things in this movie were disturbing yet understandable to me. And then there were just times when I couldn’t follow the plot because I had things spoiled, which messed up my expectations for the plot. I already had a vision of the movie so I thought the film was just dragging in its plot, but it was truly just solidifying its message. It’s hard to explain but it’s just so much better if you go in knowing nothing because it will let you go for a ride without building up expectations. 

All in all, this film is truly insane. It is definitely the weirdest and most unique film I’ve ever seen in my life. I doubt something like this could ever be made again in three lifetimes. I somehow forgot about my longtime fear of the director’s other film in the first five minutes and just sat with my eyes glued to the screen pondering what kind of madness it was. Even with the expectations I had, I was blown away and I still don’t even know if I’d sit through it again. Titane is just a film that has such a profound effect on you that can’t be described. I will once again warn you that this film is bonkers and hardcore. I knew within the first twenty minutes of the film that I can enjoy this and talk about it but I cannot by any means recommend this to anyone I know. If you’re truly up to experience something bizarre and disturbing, I think that you can watch this. However, you truly have to expect that you are not ready for what gets shown in this movie. I’ve had five different people walk away from me after describing a moment in the film. I liked it and I maybe hope that you will come around to see this, but just keep all of these warnings in mind.